West v. City of Caldwell, No. 18-35300 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of qualified immunity to police officers in an action brought by plaintiff, seeking damages incurred during a SWAT team search of her house and alleging claims for unreasonable search, unreasonable seizure, and conversion.
The panel assumed, without deciding, that defendants violated plaintiffs' rights and held that defendants were entitled to qualified immunity because those rights were not clearly established at the time. Given the factors that suggested voluntary consent, the panel held that a lack of consent was not clearly established and that a lack of consent was not so obvious that the requirement of similar precedent can be overcome. Furthermore, given that defendants thought they had permission to enter plaintiff's house to apprehend a dangerous, potentially
armed, and suicidal felon barricaded inside, it was not obvious, in the absence of a controlling precedent, that defendants exceeded the scope of plaintiff's consent by causing the tear gas canisters to enter the house in an attempt to flush the felon out into the open.